AI Can Do That? What Marketers Need To Know About Predictive Features

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Artificial intelligence is more than a buzzword when it comes to marketing. While there’s still plenty of unfulfilled AI promise (no robotic creative directors in sight), it’s also true that sophisticated marketers are using AI right now — and delivering results.

Sure, we all know about AI-powered tech, like chatbots, voice recognition and automated ad bidding. But there are other, more direct applications of AI in marketing quietly driving the decisions of some brands.

Right now, marketers are using AI to tackle challenges like:

1. High-value customer segmentation: What characteristics define my most valuable customers, and how can I find more of them?

2. Churn risks: Which customers are most likely to churn, and how can I retain them?

3. Product propensity: Which consumers are most likely to accept my latest offer?

Answering these questions requires examining why a consumer behaves a certain way. Whether we seek to identify the common characteristics of high spenders, churn risks or high-propensity audiences, we must paint a picture of the consumer and understand the attributes (known as “features” in data science) that influence the way they behave. Marketers can use AI to build these portraits. Specifically, AI offers a framework to build predictive models that are powered by the attributes that predispose consumers to behave a certain way.

AI For Targeted Marketing

Here is a walkthrough of the predictive modeling process as it relates to marketing to shine a light on how consumer attributes can be used to predict future behavior.

Data scientists apply AI techniques (machine learning and predictive modeling) on consumer data to figure out which consumer characteristics are most likely to be associated with a specific behavior. The resulting characteristics are considered to be “predictive features.”

Predictive features can be created from demographic characteristics (age, gender, profession and marital status), or behavioral characteristics (international traveler, marathon runner or high-end shopper). If you choose them carefully, the right set of features can identify whether (or not) someone is likely to take certain actions.

The “action” depends on marketing goals, and it could be either a desired outcome or one that needs to be prevented: booking a trip, signing up for a particular kind of service, account cancellation and so on.

With a carefully selected set of predictive features in hand, data scientists can use AI techniques to analyze past behavior and find patterns that are predictive of the outcomes they want to drive.

Case In Point: AI’s Predictive Characteristics In The Field

To understand in more detail how this actually works, let’s look at a real-world example of a food delivery company (a former client of my company, an AI- and data-based consumer intelligence solution). With the goal of growing its revenue, this company sought to better understand its highest-value customers, increase the percentage of these valuable customers within its customer base and develop acquisition and retention strategies for them.

To achieve this, the company employed a predictive modeling technique known as recency, frequency and monetary (RFM) modeling. RFM modeling helped define the predictive features of a high-value customer in a manner that created actionable insights for marketing campaigns.

Step 1: The Starting Point

Like most businesses, the food delivery company maintained robust data about its customers and their order history. In data science, this internal data is known as first-party data. Marketers need to start by understanding the first-party data available to them in their organizations and taking an inventory of what they have access to. Depending on the organization, access to data is highly variable. There will be some data that is readily available and unfortunately, there will be data that you will never get your hands on.

First-party data is incredibly valuable, but it does not typically provide the kinds of insights needed for efforts like audience segmentation or programmatic ad buying. For the delivery company, it was relatively easy to define its best customers using first-party data, but these “best customer” characteristics couldn’t be applied to the general consumer population. You cannot create a market segment of middle-aged women who like to order Italian food after 7:00 p.m. (although I could be over-personalizing this).

Step 2: Data Enrichment And Feature Selection

After inventorying the data that is available to you, determine where you have gaps. What sort of information would be useful to better understanding customers and prospects? What data elements will build that elusive 360-degree profile?

In our example, by enriching its first-party data with third-party consumer data (external data acquired through a data marketplace), the food delivery company was able to create a fuller picture of the customer and generate a set of predictive features that defined its best potential customers: young (25-34 years old) couples with kids in which both partners worked and had lengthy commutes.

Step 3: Taking Action On Insights

Once you have enriched your data, you are ready to act. You can use this data as part of your predictive modeling, advanced segmentation and personalization to increase the effectiveness of your efforts.

Predictive features in hand, the food delivery company worked with their marketing partners to identify and target audiences of dual-income professionals who had kids and long commutes, which made it possible to send campaigns directly to the people who were most likely to become high-value customers.

The AI Payoff

The application of AI in marketing is a nuanced process that requires the right volume and type of consumer data. It can be less time-consuming and substantially more effective than traditional methods. Gathering the depth, breadth and scale of data for AI is just one of the challenges (but possibly the biggest) that marketers may encounter. Another common challenge is with internal understanding and skill sets. Does your organization really understand the benefits of AI, and do you have the right people to successfully to implement it? Finding a trusted partner for the near term is one way to overcome these challenges if you lack internal resources.

While AI can seem intimidating, hopefully this explanation demystifies the overlap between marketing, data science and machine learning. Marketers who team up with data scientists to use AI to determine predictive attributes and create predictive models can yield impressive campaign results.

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This article is written by Laurie Hood and originally published here

Three Ways AI Can Help You Evolve Your Digital Marketing Strategy

There are only a few other marketing innovations that shocked business owners, marketers and developers over the last decade like artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence (AI) has made leaps and bounds since the 1950s when it was first theorized and created. Now, in 2021, AI has the potential to help everyone involved in the marketing process perform their jobs exponentially better than they could ten years ago.

You may be wondering, “How exactly does AI improve the way we reach and engage with the people who visit our website?”

Today, we will look at several ways to use AI to get more value from your marketing campaign. With this information, you’ll have options to build an enjoyable, user-friendly experience for your visitors.

Let’s get started.

Use Predictive AI For Personalization

The main reason businesses use AI is for data collection. Instead of manually going through every customer interaction, businesses can use AI programs to compile this information into actionable reports. Consequently, business owners and marketers can make smarter decisions about their campaigns.

One smart way many people are using AI for this business is for personalization. Consumers expect comprehensive experiences from brands. A big part of this puzzle includes personalized offers and content.

Think about the last time you visited Amazon. You likely noticed a page that shows products you may enjoy, along with featured selections under each product. This is an excellent example of how AI personalization improves customer experiences.

Amazon’s algorithm analyzes the products you’ve purchased in the past and recommends products across all categories that fit your needs. Adding a similar feature to your website that works off your customer personas can help you create personalized offers and content selections for users on your website, email, and even social media. The result of a successful personalization campaign is more sales, engagement, and site traffic.

Improve Content Creation With User Insights

Next, let’s discuss how AI helps marketers improve the quality of new content they post on their website. Blogs are an essential part of most businesses, especially when you consider that research suggests over 77% of internet users read blog posts.

E-commerce business owners and marketing teams put even more value into their blogs because most consumers read a company’s blog before making a purchase. There are clear advantages offered through content marketing, but brainstorming topic ideas can pose a challenge.

Using the power of AI, you can brainstorm topic ideas and improve your existing posts faster than ever before. Machine learning can analyze consumer behavior on your blog pages and give you helpful feedback about improving future posts.

For example, if you notice that many of your users leave before they make it a quarter of the way through your post, you can start thinking about ways to extend their time on your site with a video or images for more engagement.

Similarly, you can rewrite the content to see if the problem is with your text copy. This type of testing was possible before, but it’s more effective than ever before with the lightning-fast data collection offered with AI.

Chatbots And Natural Language Processing

Natural language processing (NLP) is a subset of machine learning that can understand, analyze, compile and create human speech. Business owners use it for a variety of reasons to improve marketing. In many cases, NLP is used in chatbot technology to communicate with visitors that land on a website.

Chatbots can understand basic requests from consumers, communicate efficiently and even make changes to their accounts. There’s no doubt that this feature has improved the way business owners sell products to their customers.

Chatbots can put product information on display for people when they land on your website and type a specific keyword or phrase into the system. Tools like chatbots make it easier than ever before to thrive in the world of digital marketing.

NLP also plays a pivotal role in voice search. More consumers use voice-activated devices than ever before. Consequently, website owners now have to use natural language on-site instead of keywords that may sound clunky or forced.

Using long-tail keywords and creating content that answers questions will ensure that Google’s AI program will find your result when someone users their voice-activated device to complete a search. So, even when it’s out of your hands, AI still plays an essential role in your business’s success.

Back To You

Despite the fear that AI will take work from others, it’s clear that we won’t see a significant shift in the tech job market. Instead, marketers will use AI to improve customer experiences by offering personalized and tailored content and top-notch customer support.

All these feats are accomplished with AI that improves on what the marketer is doing and doesn’t replace them entirely. At the end of the day, marketing decisions come from human beings. Using the power of AI, we can make smarter decisions and grow our websites through data-driven reports.

It’s up to you how you’ll implement this technology on your website. But one thing is clear: The future is here. If you plan on running a successful online store in the coming years, AI-powered marketing tools are a must.

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This article is written by Chris Christoff and originally published here

AI Won’t Take Your Job

While it’s safe to say computers will never be human, marketers are worrying about their job security as computers become advanced enough to be referred to as AI. Even with half of organizations implementing some shape or form of AI, the technology will never take over for marketers — in fact, it’s actually the opposite.

AI technology will complement, not replace, the marketer. It should be thought of as a “force multiplier” — something that increases output, makes marketers better at their jobs and benefits the business overall. For example, a CMO should not be wasting time in the rows of an Excel sheet; instead, a robot should take on those tedious tasks to free up time and add more value for business alignment.

The Human Element Needed

The role of today’s marketer is to be an expert in automated technology and, perhaps more importantly, connect and empathize with customers at every point of engagement. Humans have vision, strategy, incentives and creativity, all skills a machine could never automate.

Just like the calculator did not erase the need for mathematicians, AI will not make the marketer obsolete. AI is more of a support system that allows marketers to focus on the parts of the job that matter most: Strategy and creativity.

As the industry continues to evolve from traditional spray-and-pray approaches to more personalized methods, the human element is becoming more critical. Computers don’t know how to incite emotional triggers. Today’s personalized marketing requires a broad-based yet targeted approach, which requires not only getting a message right for one person, but also 20 messages right to 20 groups of people. It’s something that cannot be done without a human marketer.

Creating Rules

The last couple decades made it clear that data could help brands personalize their customer experience, improve engagement, convert more people and so much more. As soon as the industry realized the potential of pairing marketing strategy with data-driven decisions, AI became a critical part of tech stacks since it can uncover data and take action based on a set of rules.

In the early days of AI adoption, marketers experimented with leveraging data to solve complex problems, but automation’s promise was not fully realized right away. At first, marketers were stuck with the mundane, repetitive tasks again, like pushing the “next” button while the data seemed to dictate. This took away all the fun and, as marketers grew restless, the rules of data-based decision making became apparent.

Because AI is essentially a computer listening to data and structuring it in a way that makes sense, human rules-based input enabled it to quickly act on the data. This was the true beginning of AI in marketing.

Embracing AI

As technology continues to play a vital role in marketing, tech stacks keep growing and martech platforms get more complex, mundane tasks waste valuable time. That’s why many marketers are starting to turn to more advanced automation that enables them to oversee and configure technology without being the technology themselves.

With automation, marketers can focus on real, business-impacting activities rather than carrying out repetitive tasks. For example, think about launching a single campaign on both LinkedIn and Facebook. More often than not, this is a time-consuming and complex nightmare. However, certain AI technology can combine inputs flawlessly and launch cross-platform campaigns with one interface.

As marketers, we need to accept the fact that some things should be left up to technology. It’s time to embrace machine learning to predict consumer behavior like never before, but always remember that AI is not the silver bullet. It may take care of mundane tasks, but it will always require a human operator to create the rules.

The bottom line: AI is here to help. It’s not to be feared or avoided — let it help you do your job better and smarter.

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This article is written by Jason Widup and originally published here

What 2020 Taught Marketers About Data And AI

For years, the role of marketers has grown dramatically. CMOs and marketing teams are now expected to drive demand, elevate their brand, anticipate shifts in the market, provide strategic counsel to the business, drive the pipeline and more. Following a year like 2020, nailing any one of these areas can feel overwhelming. When markets are flipped upside down, your customer demand is uncertain, and your marketing budget is at risk of declining, the job of a marketer gets even more complex.

To be clear, not all years see such dramatic twists and turns, but as the CMO of a company that offers AI-driven audience insight, targeting and measurement solutions, 2020’s volatility has made one thing certain for me: There is a strong need for marketers to understand their data and models to make predictions about the future. This may sound more difficult than it has to be. But thanks to data, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, it’s doable. Let me explain.

Identifying Patterns In Customer Behavior

Throughout the pandemic, consumer behavior has changed dramatically, as McKinsey illustrates (download required), and reliable, first-party data on how your customers have evolved is invaluable. Past customer data is a treasure trove of insight that simply can’t be bought; it must be collected through a range of digital channels over time.

That said, collecting loads of data doesn’t do you much good unless you can analyze it, identify patterns and put it to use. To do that, data needs to be paired with AI and machine learning — technology that helps marketers identify patterns in behavior that the human eye can’t always see, which shapes how they reach audiences and then tailor content and offers.

For instance, as a lover of the outdoors and an avid outdoor gear shopper, I should see customized ads informed by my prior searches and purchases. After consenting to brands using my data for such purposes, it should be table stakes that my favorite brands, such as North Face and Patagonia, regularly incentivize me to buy their latest. At the same time, AI should be helping brands determine the appropriate cadence of ads and the level of personalization that works best for each customer.

A Real-Time Snapshot Of Audience Behavior

Throughout the past year, we’ve experienced unprecedented change, and the preferences that guide consumer decision-making have changed as well; relying on what you once knew about your audience is not as straightforward as it used to be.

For example, the person who once preferred fancy dinners out is now cooking at home (paywall), and the person who went to the mall on weekends may now be hiking with their dog. As a result, brands need to understand and act on that change. Brands seeking to reach the at-home chef or weekend hikers need to get in front of a much more diverse group of people.

To be successful, marketers must first recognize that their audience is constantly evolving. Second, they should identify and utilize real-time data about who their audiences are, what they’re looking for and where to reach them. Doing so will allow marketers to adjust how they reach audiences, as well as customer experiences, based on what consumers are dealing with right now.

Predictions That Go Beyond Your Gut

Without AI and machine learning, marketers are largely left with their gut instinct to predict the future. And regardless of experience, AI has the ability to make stronger predictions than humans. While going with your gut can prove valuable, AI can help augment your intelligence.

This past year, for instance, I’ve seen AI-based insights that could have helped predict that consumers were interested in buying used cars during the pandemic. With AI-powered forecasting tools and technology to personalize customer journeys, automakers and used car dealerships could have gotten a jump on the resurgence of automotive activity (paywall) following the initial spring 2020 lockdowns.

Other tools that can predict your next best action or identify the price that will drive the most sales help marketers make decisions grounded in data. Technology can help you figure out how new circumstances will impact your customers: what they want after purchasing a new hiking pack or how much they’re willing to spend on a new tent.

The Four Must-Haves For Getting Started

Technology is great, but AI is nothing without data. AI and machine learning act on data from a wide range of marketing and business data sources, including customer, revenue, social, digital and sentiment data — and even external data sources that help augment the businesses’ data to deliver the answers.

This is the second item: Marketers need to ask the right questions — frame the question so that it can be answered with AI. Questions about the next-best offer or next best action for a set of prospects or customers are questions that AI can answer. AI-powered platforms can help answer questions like where ads should run to effectively to reach the right audience. There are many adtech and martech solutions on the market that can help predict what will happen next.

The third item to consider is people. Having a savvy business analyst or marketing ops person in the marketing department is a good start — someone who can understand the right questions to ask and who can actually use AI/ML platforms or technologies. This person does not need to be a data scientist, although a lot of companies have central data science teams that their marketing departments can use.

And finally, the marketers need to embrace the culture of AI, which includes rethinking processes, deciding which technologies to invest in and determining how they make decisions.

One final note: I highly recommend that every marketer and business professional works to understand more about AI. One excellent course is “AI for Everyone” by Andrew Ng on Coursera.

So while 2020 put marketers in an extremely difficult position, it did do us one favor: make it abundantly clear that data and AI are foundational to our success. Now that we’re certain, we’re well positioned to meet, or even exceed, the lofty expectations in front of us.

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This article is written by Ingrid Burton and originally published here

Conversational AI is powering the next wave of customer and employee experiences

What are the opportunities and benefits that Conversational AI can bring to my organisation?

In Australia, Conversational AI is already improving customer and organisational outcomes and the market is growing rapidly.

Applications of Conversational AI across channels include chatbots, voice experiences via smart devices, and virtual call agents, and enable organisations to provide 1:1 personalised conversations with their customers and employees.

Our report Conversational AI explores:

  • What Conversational AI is
  • Examples of customer and employee opportunities and outcomes
  • Getting started on your Conversational AI journey
  • Success stories enabled by Deloitte’s assets
  • Organisational Conversational AI maturity

Download the report here

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This article is written by Deloitte Digital and originally published here

The role of AI & social media marketers in a B2B marketing campaign

A B2B marketing campaign in recent times is more capable of driving sales. We look at how AI and social media marketers together can enhance any B2B marketing campaign.

Without a doubt, artificial intelligence has touched every aspect of human lives. It is no more a thing related to sci-fi movies or big laboratories only. Curious about how artificial intelligence (AI) can help social media marketers in designing an effective B2B marketing campaign? Well, no need to be anymore.

With people alreadyshifting to online shopping, social media marketers are trying their best to leverage AI for designing appealing B2B marketing campaigns.

Did you know that it was predicted that by 2020, more than 30% of all the B2B would be using AI for improving sales processes? Moreover, 63% of B2B companies are encouraged to use artificial intelligence because it can reduce operational cost, while 54% of marketing executives say that AI solutions have increased their productivity (Zoominfo).

Nine ways AI and social media demonstrate immense value for B2B marketing strategy

Below-mentioned are eight ways social media marketers can leverage AI and will completely transform B2B marketing campaigns:

1) Understanding the value of AI for B2B marketing

To proceed further, it is very important to know what value artificial intelligence and social media marketers can bring for a B2B Marketing Campaign.

The first and foremost benefit of using AI as part of the B2B campaign is that it enables social media marketers to get quality leads. In fact, it is thebiggest challenge that B2B marketersface.

A study involving a survey of B2B marketers suggest that the biggest expectation of marketers for AI is to assist them in determining the profitable prospects and enhance the effectiveness of a marketing strategy that drives revenues.

Prior to AI, lead generation was a tough job for marketers. But with, audience segmentation is quick and quite straightforward. Plus, when a B2B company is able to identify its target audience accurately, the chances of success get improved.

It is also suspected whether AI will replace social media marketers.

2) Personalized messages for B2B marketing campaign

Personalization is the key in both B2C and B2B worlds.

According to a study,71% of B2B marketerssay that they are interested in adopting AI technologies because of personalization.

AI allows social media marketers to develop a personalized B2B campaign which is a major factor in lea conversion. From personalization, I mean that the content of the campaign must resonate with the audience.

AI is enabling social media marketers to use the information of B2B clients and use it for customized interactions. Artificial intelligence provides brands with the capability to understand customer behavior and anticipate their needs.

These messages generated by the AI tech will include emails, text messages, ads, and pop-up messages that appear on landing pages.

3) Automated conversations

One of the most amazing uses of AI in the business world is that it offers them the ability to operate round the clock with chatbots. With an AI-powered social media communication system, you can achieve the following:

  • Answering customer queries quickly
  • Understand customer needs
  • Offer customer suggestions
  • Sent scheduled messages
  • Promote new products and services
  • Conduct surveys without being boring

Automated conversations should be a part of any B2B marketing campaign because they boost brand responsiveness towards customers. When buyers get the information, they’re looking for, they proceed to the buying stage quickly.

4) CRM for B2B Marketing Campaign

In the B2B context, customer relationship management (CRM) becomes extremely important.

AI-powered intelligent CRM systems analyze client behavior and a large amount of data that can benefit your B2B marketing campaign. They use predictive analysis to recognize behavioral patterns and trends. This data can be used by social media marketers to identify quality lead – which is indeed the most painful task.

Not only this, but AI-powered CRM uses natural language processing (NLP) to transcribe phone calls between sales agents and business clients. This would help businesses rank the value and the level of risk involved in leading a particular lead.

5) Content creation & optimization

Are you posting content regularly on your social accounts and web pages but not getting desired traffic and leads? Lack of optimized content could be the reason.

In the past, social media marketers only launch a single B2B marketing campaign. Today, they launch more campaigns. With AI, social media marketers are empowered as it allows them to create sensible and valuable content those users are interested in reading.

It also simplified SEO. For instance, identifying relevant keywords based on user intent and creating quality backlinks is no more a problem with AI. Time consuming tedious SEO tasks will be done easily and quickly with AI.

6) Influencer marketing

Who are influencers?

They are key individuals with high expertise in their niche and a huge fan following. Through them, you can build awareness about your brand and reach out to a massive audience. You can also co-create content with them and create a buzz around your product.

You can use influencers for your B2B marketing campaign and increase its success rate. Last year, almost50% of B2B organizationsused influencer marketing for promoting their brand.

AI can help you identify right influencers, the ones that match perfectly with your brand personality and goals.

7) Simplified data analysis

The success of your B2B marketing campaign depends on how well you gather and evaluate data.

Not being able to obtain and interpret data accurately might hamper your B2B campaign, and you can lose profitable leads.

As we all know that humans can make mistakes, butAI can simplify the complexities of media planning. With AI, you can solve complex problems speedily and retrieve history within no time. For example, AI-powered social media platforms can let social media marketers know which clients have higher income and even which luxury brands they own.

8) Tracking B2B marketing campaign efforts

As a social marketer, you might be interested in knowing how your B2B campaign is performing and if it needs any changes. Experts suggest that B2B social media marketers should always compare their current performance with past results to gauge true results.

According toessay writers UK, AI-powered platforms have enabled businesses to track prospects every step of the way. With AI, you don’t need to wait for a week to get a post mortem report of your B2B campaign.

This also enabled social media marketers to make immediate changes in your B2B campaign if required. Similar strategy is used formobile application developmentfor your B2B prospects.

9) Optimizing email send times

No matter how much noteworthy piece of content with valuable information you create, it would be worthless if your customers don’t find it when they open their email.

With AI, social media marketers are empowered. They can optimize email delivery times. AI calculates the best time to send emails to your audience.

According to a study, morning is the best time to send B2B emails. Emails that are sent between 12:00 am to 8:15 am receive a high open-rate.

In summary

AI has completely changed the way social media marketers design and launch a B2B marketing campaign. Things are pretty easier and quicker.

With AI revolutionizing how data is gathered, processes, and created, social media marketers get more time to spend on other meaningful activities.

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This article is written by Amanda Jerelym and originally published here 

Top five digital marketing trends for 2021

A look at the priorities that will potentially drive global marketing strategies post Covid

2020 will go down as a year that altered the course of history. One of the major implications of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the fact that it has accelerated a switch to all things digital. The world has had to adapt the way that it communicates and does business – social media usage has skyrocketed, businesses have adopted a ‘virtual’ way of working and work from home (WFH) has become an accepted business practice.

As we head towards the end of the year, there is no reverting back to the ‘way things were’.

Here are the leading digital marketing trends expected for 2021.

Rise of the chatbot
If you’ve had an e-commerce transaction go wrong or had a food app order mishap, chances are you’ve had to deal with a chatbot. The growth of online and e-commerce purchases, coupled with a chatbot’s ability to interact with customers and mimic real-life interactions, makes it a very attractive go-to solution for businesses.

For marketers, however, this presents a unique opportunity whereby they can use chatbots to not only provide instant customer service, but also be a source of direct interaction for information and data collection.

More recently, the use of chatbots has expanded, and they are being used in creative ways to help drive customer engagement and website traffic. Chatbots are not going anywhere and we will only see them becoming more prevalent as time goes on.

Voice activated search becoming the norm
This trend pays tribute to our most famous virtual assistants: Siri, Google Home and Alexa. Over the last few years, people have been using digital voices to assist them with nearly everything: playing music, checking the weather, setting alarms and getting directions.

Voice search has also been integrated into many of our everyday tech devices like smartphones, laptops, tablets and more. Thanks to the ease and convenience it provides, voice activated search is predicted to further hit a high in 2021. In line with this trend, there lies a great opportunity for digital marketers, who must look at stepping up their business’s SEO game.

If we consider the fact that the future of search is voice, then marketers must be cognisant of this trend and choose keywords for SEO optimisation that are compatible with what people are accustomed to asking a virtual assistant. Text-based search is going to be a thing of the past soon, so in order to ensure that your content is visible, one must ensure it is optimised for both voice and text search.

The integration of AR and VR
The two major technological advancements that are ready to overtake the present and future of business are undoubtedly augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). From product development to storytelling and creating engaging content, AR and VR have emerged as the heroes of this pandemic and allowed marketers to bring experiences to life – albeit virtually.

While video content will prevail as a dominating force in the years to come, the next ‘big thing’ that will have a major impact in 2021 is the use of AR and VR to create 3D environments that strengthen the emotional bonds between a brand, its products and the customers.

Many brands have already started implementing AR into their customers’ regular shopping experiences – for example Ikea customers can now access an AR app and see a 3D illustration of furniture in their home spaces before making a purchase, or Asos customers can take the ‘The virtual walk’ where they see a real-world vision of their favourite garments on a virtual model.

A new era of ‘shoppable posts’
Online shopping has seen a major uptick during the pandemic and ‘shoppable posts’ are fast becoming the norm, rather than the exception.

With the breadth of shoppable posts spanning all major social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest, businesses have tremendous power to maximising their e-commerce presence across a multitude of platforms. Customers can easily click on the shopping icon of any product showcased on a company’s Instagram feed and either be directed to the e-commerce website page or go straight to check out. Either way, it’s easy, convenient and hassle free.

Domination of short-form video content
Video content is all set to solidify its position as the GOAT (greatest of all time) of content marketing in 2021. The pandemic has only highlighted its importance and the demand for video is not going to be slowing down anytime soon. It is fast becoming a cornerstone of any business’ marketing strategy  and brands have already made tremendous progress with their video content strategies.

But most noteworthy is the fact that short-form video content is emerging as a front runner. While long-form content still has a place, short form videos are dominating – they’re succinct videos and snippets that are a quick fix for brands that want to connect with their customers and stay top of mind. They’re memorable, easily digestible and can push engagement. One only has to look at the astronomical success of TikTok during Covid-19 to see the appetite of consumers for short and snackable-sized content.

Zaib Shadani is a PR consultant and media trainer at Shadani Consulting

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This article is written by Zaib Shadani and originally published here

Revolutionising digital marketing through AI-powered tools

With AI, marketers can spot micro trends and even predict them to a large extent

The digital era took off with the internet coming of age, its fiery adoption, and the ubiquitous access to personal computers. The first fully assembled personal computer was sold by Apple in the later part of the ’70s, while the ’80s saw the internet’s introduction. Finally, the ’90s saw the mass usage of the internet by the whole world. This led to a fundamental change in the global communications landscape and prompted wholesale digital marketing changes. Enterprises realised the potential of this new channel. They raced to build their web presence and optimise themselves to pull in higher search engine rankings for brand visibility and generate demand for their products and services. All these developments in the ecosystem led to the birth of several dot com companies. The dot com burst also saw a lot of those companies vanish into thin air.

Post-2000 or the post dot com era saw companies strive to compete and outperform. Digital marketing practices became more complex as they evolved. While digital marketing algorithms underwent massive evolution through decades, the elusive and nebulous Artificial Intelligence (AI) gradually made its way to aid that evolution.

So, what is AI, and how did it become a part of our lives?

The term Artificial Intelligence was first coined by John McCarthy in 1956 when he held the first academic conference on the subject, but the concept was even older. By definition, it refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines programmed to think, react and decide like humans, and mimic their actions. From watching sci-fi movies to conversations with humorous and smart Siri or Alexa and self-driving cars, AI has become a part of our lives every day through the data we feed continuously to the internet.

With AI, marketers can spot micro trends and even predict them to a large extent. They can then make strategic decisions about where they allocate their budgets and who they target. As a result, brands can reduce digital advertising waste and get the best bang for the bucks spent.

For example, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, YouTube, etc., use AI to predict their consumers’ behavior and present them with relevant products and videos based on their search histories, views, and other demographic data accumulation and analysis. From one-size-fits-all marketing to a one-size-fits-only-one, AI has made it possible to create customized experiences for every consumer in almost every sector now.

AI tools are being integrated with digital marketing to create, curate, and market content, gradually substituting customer service centers through chatbots. Consumer behavior and preferences are also being predicted through email marketing and social listening, which, in turn, help consumers search online through voice search algorithms. AI can also design and develop websites through its algorithms instead of hiring web developers and can provide consumers with compelling UI/UX through buyer persona analyses.

Some of the popular AI-led digital tools include HubSpot’s social media software that automatically creates social posts based on the metadata of the link you copy and paste, saving a lot of time. Anyone subscribed to HubSpot’s Marketing Hub or its higher versions can use the tool, which can be found in the platform’s Social section. Phrasee is another enterprise-level AI copywriting tool for generating increased ROI from multi-channel marketing, including emails, Facebook, and Instagram. Sprout Social enables brands to find, form, and deepen connections with their social audience. Sprout Social’s automated technology can also help generate tweets that can reply to fans, customers, or followers. Acrolinx is another AI marketing that can help businesses develop optimal content marketing strategies and provide scalable AI solutions for content creation.

We are now living in an age of all things data. Digital marketing is evolving every second, from static banners to clickable ones, from a blanket discount to dynamic pricing influencing buying decisions on-the-go. Marketers are now using search patterns to predict their sales and serve customers better.

What’s next?

AI is the new face of productivity, efficiency, and profitability. It is no longer limited to the usage of more prominent firms. MSMEs and start-ups too can adapt and scale their business through the strategic use of AI. The biggest boon in the future digital era will be the gradual extinction of human errors through AI-enabled processes and systems and detecting frauds and other criminal activities online.

However, the apparent fear that looms is the replacement of specific human jobs of marketers or advertisers. But to embark on a new era driven by AI does not mean so. AI is here to unleash their creative potential and rewire them to plan and execute marketing programs better.

As a business owner or marketer, it’s time to identify problems that might deter the business or its marketing. An insightful approach aided by AI will surely and accurately solve these issues for a future-proof business.

The author is a serial entrepreneur and the co-founder of The Higher Pitch, an Experience Consulting company

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This article is written by Nishant Mishra and originally published here

5 trends of Artificial Intelligence in marketing that will mark 2021

Without a doubt, last year was a watershed for the adoption of new technologies, as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the implementation of tools based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) for various business areas. In this sense, one of the most representative was marketing.

By 2021, if your company wants to be competitive, you should know that Artificial Intelligence is not a privilege or something taken from a futuristic story, but a key tool to generate effective communication with your audience.

AI will be the driving force for thousands of small, medium and large companies to send clear, simple and direct messages to their customers. The advantage of this technology is that it gives you a clear picture; that is, based on data, it generates statistical models that help your company make better decisions, while allowing you to better understand the market and your customers.

Knowing your consumers and offering them what they need will be of utmost importance for the businesses of the present and the future. The 2020 crisis made it clear that today more than ever customers are inclined towards those companies that are close to them and receptive to their demands.

The shopping experience will determine the decision of consumers. So if your company offers more and better personalized experiences, it will rank as one of the favorites. That is why it requires the impulse of Artificial Intelligence.

Thus, these 5 trends will be the key to success for any company in 2021:

Hyperpersonalization. 

Although personalization was key this year, by 2021 it is necessary to take the experience one step further and that your client always has the products and services they require at hand, quickly and easily.

Chatbots will continue to be effective tools to advise your customers throughout their purchase process, as they make each interaction a unique experience. In addition, they can offer additional products -based on their preferences and needs- to those they already have in the shopping cart.This increases the possibility that they will make a new purchase or that the average ticket will increase, since they have on hand what they I was looking for, suggests you based on sizes, styles, consumption habits, premises or based on your demographics. Chatbots, in an e-commerce environment, have to be indispensable for any successful e-commerce strategy.

This trend also involves getting your consumers the promotions and offers that match it. For example, if a customer has a preference for electronics, they may only pay attention to promotions and discounts where these items appear. It’s about getting the right message to the right person.

Identify unexploited consumption patterns. 

The use of tools such as big data and machine learning allow you to identify purchase micro-trends, which, although they seem very simple or not very relevant, have a great impact on sales.

The purpose is that you understand not only your market, but the behavior of your potential customers and consumers; In other words, if your company is a clothing company, you should be clear about what type of customers buy jeans more than corduroy ones, or which ones prefer jackets or sweaters.

This will give a more specific overview of what to communicate, in what way and to whom it is addressed. The analytical capabilities of Artificial Intelligence allow you to identify market correlations to launch more impactful and strategic campaigns.

Break the barrier between the traditional and the digital world. 

This sounds a bit ambitious, and it is. But as soon as your company is more clear about the importance of the digital world, it will focus its efforts on making its operations more efficient.

AI can help you synchronize the virtual world with the face-to-face; that is, to connect your inventories with your online catalogs, so that you always have availability of the best-selling products; or improve your logistics operations and communicate the shipping process with your customers. All this focused on improving the shopping experience.

Conversational commerce will be another of the tools that will help to bridge this gap, by offering your customers an improved and close experience, as well as having a personal shopping assistant who can know the interests of customers and is 100% available to them on the day and at the time required. You will no longer have to see what you want to buy on the sideboards, but you will enter virtual stores.

Targeted Marketing. 

As I mentioned before, marketing campaigns require more segmentation and planning to be truly impactful.

Consumers’ emotions impact the way they perceive ads, so the identification of these emotions thanks to AI will be key to getting them the right message at the right time.

Artificial emotional intelligence (AEI) is emerging as the next frontier for AI development, especially if your company has a more ambitious marketing goal. This technology is betting that in the coming years it will be able to influence the purchase decision of thousands of consumers to generate more efficient campaigns.

Omnichannel. 

Omnichannel will also be a trend next year, as channel approval has a positive impact on consumers. And in the digital world, the ability for your customer to be able, through different digital platforms, to continue with their shopping experience will be paramount.

Although the more communication channels your company has, the greater the chances that your customers will approach it, omnichannel allows this approach to be much more practical and simple for the user.

It should be noted that 2021 will be an interesting year for technology, and undoubtedly companies will bet heavily on the incorporation of new digital tools. It is enough to see what 2020 left us to know that what seemed very distant a few months ago, today is a reality.

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This article is written by Explica.coand originally published here

How AI Chatbots Can Boost Patient Engagement, Care Experience

An artificial intelligence-powered chatbot is helping providers at UCHealth increase patient engagement and enhance the care experience.

The rise of artificial intelligence tools in healthcare has introduced new methods of care delivery, giving providers the ability to reach patients outside the four walls of the doctor’s office.

Chatbots and conversational AI are key examples of such tools. Organizations have implemented these devices to support patients and broaden access to care, wherever patients may be.

At UCHealth, an AI-powered tool called Livi has helped patients meaningfully engage in their own care.

“We first implemented the tool to be able to answer simple questions for our patients. When they come to our website, we want to help them make it easier to find a location or find a doctor,” Nicole Caputo, senior director of experience and innovation at UCHealth, said during a recent episode of Healthcare Strategies, an Xtelligent Healthcare Media podcast.

“But after we implemented her, we found out very quickly that patients wanted to know about their health. They were looking for information specific to them more than anything. We still have people looking for locations and providers in a specific specialty, but they also want to know where their test results are or message their doctor. That shifted our strategy towards integration with the EHR.”

In the context of COVID-19, tools like Livi are becoming all the more prevalent – and critical – in healthcare delivery.

“There are a lot of folks who are calling into clinics and talking to people about their healthcare more, so the idea of picking up the phone and calling somebody is a little bit more difficult when there’s a higher call volume. People are trying to do more online and interact with our digital tools in a way that they may not necessarily have done before,” said Matt Andazola, project manager for experience and innovation at UCHealth.

“They’re coming to Livi and they’re asking for help accomplishing different tasks: Reading a message from their doctor, composing a new one, or finding their test results. Conversational AI is a way to bridge that gap and bring people to the information they’re looking for and help them accomplish things faster, using tools that already exist.”

Going forward, chatbots will play a larger role in the overall patient experience.

“The future for conversational AI is bringing it more into the care process throughout the entire care journey, whether it’s helping more with the pre-work required for appointments or just helping you live your best life possible,” Caputo concluded.

“For us, it’s just greater personalization and greater integration with the healthcare journey, and we’re really excited about the future as we see the technology grow.”

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This article is written by Jessica Kent and originally published here